By McKenzie May
As followers of Christ, we know well that we are called to a different standard of behavior than that of the world. We are called to be holy, which means “set apart” in Hebrew (1 Peter 1:15). The blood of Christ has set us free from an empty way of life! We don’t seek to live like Christ because we’re “better,” or because we want to live “good” or “moral” lives. We choose to stand out for two reasons:
- To honor the transformation our hearts undergo when we accept Jesus as our Savior
- To lead as an example to those in our lives who don’t know Him yet
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24
If we claim Christ as our Savior, we are branding ourselves as ambassadors of His story. And because we are branded, we are being watched. 1 Peter talks about the consequences of the eyes of the world being on us. People will wonder why we don’t do the things we used to do (1 Peter 4:4), and will question us about what we believe and why we believe it (1 Peter 3:15).
The amount of people who have grown up without knowing the love of God is staggering, and because of this, it is highly possible that we could be the first picture of Jesus that someone sees. If we live in sexual sin, drunkenness, gossip, or grudge-holding, we are not exemplifying the gift of covering grace. If we are not living a radically transformed life, then those who witness our actions and hear our words are getting an incorrect view of our God and His character.
When we deliberately walk in sin, we are saying that God doesn’t deserve every part of our lives. We are saying that in some area of our lives, Jesus isn’t better. When we live a radically transformed life, we are saying that He is life.
God has the power to use sinners like us to reach the hearts of those around us. In 1 Timothy, Paul tells Timothy to “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity,” and to “watch your life and doctrine closely… because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:12,16).
This doesn’t mean that we are called to be perfect. We rest assured knowing that although we will sin, we are ultimately covered and secured by the blood of Christ. However, if we fight temptation, if we put on the armor of God daily, if we remain rooted in the Word of God and impress it on our hearts, we live in the hope that our friends and family “may see our good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).